AARP Driving Resource Center

Emergency Vehicles — How Should Drivers React?

If you hear a siren or see flashing lights, what should you do?

Ambulance on the street in an emergency, Driving Resource Center

Be prepared to stop for an emergency vehicle. — istockphoto

Emergency vehicles include police vehicles (marked and unmarked cars), ambulance/emergency medical services (EMS) vehicles and fire trucks.

See also: What is a safe following distance on the road?

If you hear a siren or see flashing lights, and an emergency vehicle is approaching you:

  • From behind: Be ready to safely move out of the way (generally to the right, but this will depend on the particular roadway).
  • From a cross street or toward you: Be prepared to stop and let the vehicle cross in front of you or make its turn.

If uncertain about where to move over, follow the pattern of the cars around you to create a travel lane for the emergency vehicle to pass.

Slow down or stop as required by state law.

When approaching an emergency vehicle with flashing lights that is stopped, proceed with caution, move over a lane when possible and adhere to your state’s regulations.

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